2018/19 NBA Betting Guide: LeBron Shifts The Axis

2018/19 NBA Betting Guide: LeBron Shifts The Axis

The landscape of the NBA changed dramatically over the summer when LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The best player in the game is now in the same division as the best team in the game, the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, and while that certainly makes the Western Conference much more interestings, it has turned the Eastern Conference into a wide-open affair.

Can the mere presence of LeBron James turn the woeful Lakers into contenders? Not immediately, but give them another year to build and then we might really have something to see here. For the time being, the Houston Rockets remain the biggest threat to Golden State, while the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Lakers are intriguing longshots.

It’s in the East where things are suddenly vastly more interesting with LeBron gone. The Boston Celtics are the chalk, having gone to the East final last spring and what with them getting both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back from injury. But what about the young Philadelphia 76ers? Are they ready to take the next step? Will Kawhi Leonard finally turn the Toronto Raptors into a team that can win in the postseason? And don’t rule out the Indiana Pacers, who pushed the Cavs to the brink in last season’s playoffs.

There’s value to be made here if you can nail down the team that’s coming out of the East.      

Team by Team

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics

  • NBA Championships : 17
  • Odds To Win Championship: +500
  • Odds To Win Conference: -130
  • Odds To Win Division: -130
  • Major Players For This Season: Al Horford, Kyrie Irving
    With James gone from Cleveland, the Celtics are now the team to beat in the East, especially with Irving and Gordon Hayward back from injury. Might the Celtics have too many good players? Coach Brad Stevens may be hard-pressed to find minutes for everyone.

Brooklyn Nets

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +45000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +17500
  • Odds To Win Division: +15000
  • Major Players For This Season: Allen Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell
    The rebuilding Nets are already in wait until next year mode, saving cap space and marching toward a big summer of 2019. Russell has the pieces to be a star, but hasn’t been able to assemble the package. Crabbe is a a 40 percent 3-point shooter over the last three seasons.

New York Knicks

  • NBA Championships – 2
  • Odds To Win Championship: +40000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +8000
  • Odds To Win Division: +20000
  • Major Players For This Season: Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis
    The Knicks have missed the playoffs five years in a row, and considering Porzingis (torn ACL) is done until February, six seems a certainty. David Fizdale is the latest new coach assigned the task of solving what ails this team.

Philadelphia 76ers

  • NBA Championships: 3
  • Odds To Win Championship:  +1600
  • Odds To Win Conference: +375
  • Odds To Win Division: +300
  • Major Players For This Season: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons
    Simmons was named the NBA’s top rookie and combined with shot-blocking specialist Embiid, offer world-class defense. But can the Sixers score enough? Philly went from 10 wins in 2015-16 to 52 wins last season.

Toronto Raptors

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +1400
  • Odds To Win Conference: +400
  • Odds To Win Division: +260
  • Major Players For This Season: Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry
    After years of playoff failure, the Raptors shuffled the deck, firing coach Dwane Casey and dealing guard DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio for Leonard. He’s a legitimate MVP threat, but can he make these underachievers win in the postseason?

Central Division

Chicago Bulls

  • NBA Championships: 6
  • Odds To Win Championship: +30000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +8000
  • Odds To Win Division: +3500
  • Major Players For This Season: Zach Lavine, Jabari Parker
    The Bulls brought Chicago native Parker home from Milwaukee, but just like Lavine he’s had issues with his knees. The Bulls were last in the NBA in 2-point field goal percentage last season (.474), as well as in defending against the 2-point shot (.534).

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds To Win Championship: +45000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +8000
  • Odds To Win Division: +3500
  • Major Players For This Season: Kevin Love, Collin Sexton
    Life after LeBron begins again for the Cavs and Love will again be the focal point of an offense for the first time since leaving Minnesota to join Cleveland. First-round draft pick Sexton could be a rookie of the year contender.

Detroit Pistons

  • NBA Championships: 3
  • Odds To Win Championship: +30000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +7000
  • Odds To Win Division: +650
  • Major Players For This Season: Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin
    Detroit basketball has a new in charge, Casey moving over from the Raptors to replace the departed Stan Van Gundy. Drummond is an ace rebounder but dreadful free-throw shooter. The Pistons haven’t won a playoff game since 2008.

Indiana Pacers

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +12500
  • Odds To Win Conference: +2600
  • Odds To Win Division: +130
  • Major Players For This Season: Tyreke Evans, Victor Oladipo,
    Adding Evans from Memphis provides the Pacers with a second scoring option beyond Oladipo and should help to open up defenses. Olapido led the NBA with 2.4 steals per game.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds To Win Championship: +10000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +2000
  • Odds To Win Division: +110
  • Major Players For This Season: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton
    A legitimate MVP candidate, if Antetokounmpo had any semblance of a supporting cast the Bucks could be the team to come out of the East, something Milwaukee hasn’t done since 1971.

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds To Win Championship: +40000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +17500
  • Odds To Win Division: +5000
  • Major Players For This Season: Vince Carter, Trae Young
    Top draftee Young will be fun to watch and he tallies the points, but don’t look for him to guard anyone. There’s a new coach in Lloyd Pierce, who will count on the veteran leadership of Carter and Jeremy Lin to mentor his young team.

Charlotte Hornets

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +30000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +8000
  • Odds To Win Division: +1200
  • Major Players For This Season: Tony Parker, Kemba Walker
    New coach James Borrego comes from the Spurs and he’s brought Parker on board to hopefully teach the young Hornets the San Antonio way of doing things. Walker is an all-star, but there’s not much in the way of a supporting cast.

Miami Heat

  • NBA Championships: 3
  • Odds To Win Championship: +30000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +7000
  • Odds To Win Division: +175
  • Major Players For This Season: Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade
    The veteran-laden Heat could give the Wizards a run for the division crown, or they could seize up like the Tin Man without his daily dosage of oil. Wade’s farewell tour could offer the team a rallying point.

Orlando Magic

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +45000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +10000
  • Odds To Win Division: +1600
  • Major Players For This Season: Mohamed Bamba, Aaron Gordon
    Steve Clifford is the new coach of a team that’s won as many as 30 games just once in the past six seasons. If seven footer Bamba, their top pick in the draft, can mesh with power forward Gordon, there might be hope for the future.

Washington Wizards

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds To Win Championship: +10000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +2200
  • Odds To Win Division: -140
  • Major Players For This Season: Bradley Beal, John Wall
    Viewing LeBron’s departure from the East as a sign of opportunity knocking, the Wizards beefed up their bench behind stars Beal and Wall, and added the presence of aging big man Dwight Howard to work under the rim.

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +12500
  • Odds To Win Conference: +7500
  • Odds To Win Division: +450
  • Major Players For This Season: Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic
    A loss in the season finale to the Minnesota Timberwolves cost the Nuggets a playoff spot last season, the fifth straight season they’ve missed the postseason. Playing 10 of their first 15 games at home will offer Denver a chance to get off to a strong start.

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +15000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +8000
  • Odds To Win Division: +550
  • Major Players For This Season: Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins
    Securing their first playoff spot since 2004, the joy in Minnesota was short-lived. Houston dispatched the T-wolves in five games and now Jimmy Butler wants a trade, all part and parcel of the infighting that has infected this team.

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +15000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +3000
  • Odds To Win Division: +210
  • Major Players For This Season: Paul George, Russell Westbrook
    With all the focus on the Warriors and Lakers, the Thunder are flying under the radar in the West, but as long as they have George and former MVP Westbrook, they can’t be discounted. If only they could figure out how to get it done in the playoffs.

Portland Trail Blazers

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds To Win Championship: +15000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +7500
  • Odds To Win Division: +650
  • Major Players For This Season: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum
    A first-place finish in the division was quickly doused when the Trail Blazers were swept out of the playoffs by the Pelicans. Only LeBron James (1073) scored more points in the second half of last season than Lillard (1052).

Utah Jazz

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +7500
  • Odds To Win Conference: +3500
  • Odds To Win Division: +220
  • Major Players For This Season: Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell
    The Jazz won 29 of their last 35 games to make the playoffs and then stunned the Thunder in the opening round of postseason play. Gobert was the NBA’s defensive player of the year. They were 31-15 when Mitchell scored 20 points.

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors

  • NBA Championships: 6
  • Odds To Win Championship: -195
  • Odds To Win Conference: -245
  • Odds To Win Division: -2000
  • Major Players For This Season: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant
    Back-to-back crowns. Three titles in four years. Already suiting up four all-stars in Curry Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, they added a fifth in Boogie Cousins. Can the Warriors be the first team to threepeat since the 2000-02 Lakers?

Los Angeles Clippers

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +25000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +10000
  • Odds To Win Division: +5000
  • Major Players For This Season: Tobias Harris, Lou Williams
    After a decade, the Clippers have moved on from the DeAndre Jordan era and are starting over with a clean slate. Williams was last season’s NBA sixth man of the year, but they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11.

Los Angeles Lakers

  • NBA Championships: 16
  • Odds To Win Championship: +1000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +650
  • Odds To Win Division: +700
  • Major Players For This Season: Brandon Ingram, LeBron James
    It will be all LeBron, all the time, as the Lakers look to bring back the days when Showtime dominated the Staples Center and the NBA. James has taken his team to the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons.

    Los Angeles Lakers
    To Win the NBA Title Odds
    +1000

    Bovada

Phoenix Suns

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +40000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +17500
  • Odds To Win Division: +15000
  • Major Players For This Season: Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker
    A 4-27 finish to the season closed out the Suns’ eighth straight non-playoff campaign, but got them first overall pick Ayton in the draft lottery. The Suns were an NBA-worst 10-31 at home last season.

Sacramento Kings

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds To Win Championship: +50000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +30000
  • Odds To Win Division: +20000
  • Major Players For This Season: Marvin Bagley III, De’Aaron Fox
    The Kings are longest shot on the board to win the Western Conference. They haven’t qualified for postseason play since 2005-06, the longest current drought in the NBA. They were last in the league in scoring last season (98.8 points per game).

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks

  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Odds to Win Championship: +25000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +9000
  • Odds To Win Division: +5500
  • Major Players For This Season: Luka Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki
    European star Doncic may be the most NBA-ready player from this year’s draft class. The Mavs were 24-58 last season, their worst finish since 1997-98. Nowitzki needs 223 points to surpass Wilt Chamberlain and move into No. 5 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Houston Rockets

  • NBA Championships: 2
  • Odds To Win Championship: +850
  • Odds To Win Conference: +550
  • Odds To Win Division: -450
  • Major Players For This Season: James Harden, Chris Paul

They suited up the MVP (Harden), won a league-high 65 games and still couldn’t get it done in the postseason. They had the Warriors down 3-2 in the West final when Paul got hurt. Could Carmelo Anthony off the bench be the needed X-factor?

Memphis Grizzlies

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +50000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +17500
  • Odds To Win Division: +6000
  • Major Players For This Season: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol
    Heel surgery limited Conley to 12 games as Memphis used more players last season (24) than it won games (22). J.B. Bickerstaff, son of NBA coaching legend Bernie Bickerstaff, is the new coach charged with cleaning up this mess.

New Orleans Pelicans

  • NBA Championships: 0
  • Odds To Win Championship: +50000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +17500
  • Odds To Win Division: +6000
  • Major Players For This Season: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holliday
    On the plus side, the Pelicans played games in May for the first time in franchise history. But then they did little in the offseason to build on that success, and even let playoff sensation Rajon Rondo walk.

San Antonio Spurs

  • NBA Championships: 5
  • Odds To Win Championship: +8000
  • Odds To Win Conference: +4000
  • Odds To Win Division: +600
  • Major Players For This Season: LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan
    It’s a new era in San Antonio with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard all departed. Last season was the first in 21 that the Spurs didn’t win at least 50 games. The question to be answered – was DeRozan the reason Toronto didn’t win, or was Toronto the reason DeRozan didn’t win?

2018-19 NBA Season Predictions

NBA Eastern Conference Champions

Boston Celtics (-130)

NBA Western Conference Champions

Golden State Warriors (-245)

NBA Finals Champions

Golden State Warriors (-195)

 

NBA 2018-19 MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

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